Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak, who died last May, would have celebrated his 85th birthday Monday. His life’s work is being honored in a Google Doodle that sketches out his otherworldly creatures, un-childlike fangs and claws and all.

Mr. Sendak, whose much-lauded work was sometimes banned for its unsanitized take on the children’s genre, did not believe in childhood – at least not childhood in the way in which it is conventionally talked about, glossed in nursery-appropriate hues.

It’s tempting to see such Technicolor absurdity as targeted more toward the adults—the sort of adults who buy avant-garde picture books, at least—than the children. And it is tempting to see it as a weird aberration in a section of the bookstore that, when you’re combing the shelves, trying to find a single non-awful book for a preschool birthday present, can seem insistently, intentionally boring. But neither is true. The picture book genre has always been a breeding ground for anarchic absurdism.

In an interview with The Guardian, when he was 83, Sendak said: Ebooks: “I hate them. It’s like making believe there’s another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of sex. There isn’t another kind of book! A book is a book is a book.” More interesting stuff in the article. See also this article [...]

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